Catalogue


The quest for democracy in Iran [electronic resource] : a century of struggle against authoritarian rule /
Fakhreddin Azimi.
imprint
Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 2008.
description
xiv, 492 p. : ill. ; 25 cm.
ISBN
0674027787 (alk. paper), 9780674027787 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
More Details
imprint
Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 2008.
isbn
0674027787 (alk. paper)
9780674027787 (alk. paper)
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
contents note
Prologue : in search of a national covenant -- Constituting a national community (1906-1953). Constitutional trial and error -- Pahlavist absolutism -- Restoration of parliamentary politics -- Authoritarian supremacy : consolidation and collapse (1953-1979). The trajectories of monarchism -- Revolution : chronicle of an implosion -- The edifice and emplacements of royal rule -- Elective affinities : western imperial interests and authoritarian monarchy -- The architecture of royalist hegemony -- A culture of confrontation -- The eclipse of popular sovereignty : Iran since 1979. The unfolding of clerical rule : oligarchy by divine right? -- The culture of politics : the presence and absence of the past -- Predicaments and prospects -- Epilogue : the resilience of modernity.
catalogue key
8845583
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 455-479) and index.
A Look Inside
Awards
This item was nominated for the following awards:
Connecticut Book Awards, USA, 2009 : Nominated
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2008-12-01:
Azimi (history, Univ. of Connecticut) focuses on a century of Iranian political history--from the Iranian Constitutional Revolution of 1906-11 to the present--in a study that portrays the tension between the "suppression of democracy in Iran and the sustained quest for it." From the Qajar state with its tribal network of landowners and patronage to the Pahlavi dynasty (Reza Shah and his son, Mohammad Reza Shah) with its centralized court and modernizing tendencies, Iranian political life was shaped by authoritarian tendencies. These were countered by the civic nationalism of Mohammad Mosaddeq, whose liberal democratic program remained a pervasive force in Iranian culture. Azimi's method is to interrelate the main figures and forces in Iranian political life; the natural resources (oil) making wealth and international status significant political factors; the tension between traditional religion and secularity; the yearning for political equality, popular sovereignty, and democratic representation; and the pervasive role of ideology. The sophistication of the author's concepts of democracy and authoritarianism, his command of the sources, and his intellectual clarity and energy have combined to produce an insightful book that will draw the attention of all interested in Iranian culture and history. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-level undergraduates and above; general readers. L. J. Alderink emeritus, Concordia College
Reviews
Review Quotes
The sophistication of [Azimi's] concepts of democracy and authoritarianism, his command of the sources, and his intellectual clarity and energy have combined to produce an insightful book that will draw the attention of all interested in Iranian culture and history.
Azimi's impressive book offers a penetrating analysis of what sustained authoritarian rule in Iran over the last one hundred years and how the aspirations and quest for social justice, the rule of law, and freedom have remained both frustrated and resilient. He shows that the key hopes and agendas associated with the 1906 Constitutional Revolution remain as salient as ever.
The Quest for Democracy in Iran is a book of immense erudition, yet it is also a work of passion and sympathy for the Iranian people. A rigorous and fair-minded assessment of the Pahlavi dynasty and the revolution under Khomeni, it will command the attention of the general public as well as scholars.
Twentieth-century Iranian history provides wonderful examples of recurring themes of revolution, authoritarian rule, and the attempt to create democratic institutions. In this landmark book, Fakhreddin Azimi illuminates a subject of the greatest importance to Iran, the Middle East, and, indeed, the rest of the world. Elegantly written and deeply informative, The Quest for Democracy in Iran is a must read.
For Azimi, all Iranian history after 1905 is an attempt to fulfill, partially accommodate or circumvent the ideals of a constitutional movement that placed popular representation at the fore of its priorities. He traces how at various moments public alienation and resentment have been articulated or expressed and finally, how "a culture of confrontation" emerged. His book goes a long way toward recuperating a history of Iranian democracy that has been expunged by Orientalists who wonder aloud if there is something about Muslim lands that makes them inhospitable to democracy or, alternatively, those who have dismissed periods of hectic parliamentary activity as mere chaos.
Fakhreddin Azimi's The Quest for Democracy in Iran is particularly strong on retrieving the importance of the Constitutional Revolution and threading it through to the Islamic Republic's current dialectic between republicanism and theocracy.
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, December 2008
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Long Description
The Constitutional Revolution of 1906 launched Iran as a pioneer in a broad-based movement to establish democratic rule in the non-Western world. In a book that provides essential context for understanding modern Iran, Fakhreddin Azimi traces a century of struggle for the establishment of representative government. The promise of constitutional rule was cut short in the 1920s with the rise of the Pahlavi dynasty. Reza Shah, whose despotic rule Azimi deftly captures, maintained the facade of a constitutional monarch but greeted any challenge with an iron fist: "I will eliminate you," he routinely barked at his officials. In 1941, fearful of losing control of the oil-rich region, the Allies forced Reza Shah to abdicate but allowed Mohammad Reza to succeed his father. Though promising to abide by the constitution, the new Shah missed no opportunity to undermine it. The Anglo-American-backed coup of 1953, which ousted reformist premier Mohammed Mosaddeq, dealt a blow to the constitutionalists. The Shah's repressive policies and subservience to the United States radicalized both secular and religious opponents, leading to the revolution of 1979. Azimi argues that we have fundamentally misunderstood this event by characterizing it as an "Islamic" revolution when it was in reality the expression of a long-repressed desire for popular sovereignty. This explains why the clerical rulers have failed to counter the growing public conviction that the Islamic Republic, too, is impervious to political reform--and why the democratic impulse that began with the Constitutional Revolution continues to be a potent and resilient force.
Main Description
The Constitutional Revolution of 1906 launched Iran as a pioneer in a broad-based movement to establish democratic rule in the non-Western world. In a book that provides essential context for understanding modern Iran, Fakhreddin Azimi traces a century of struggle for the establishment of representative government. The promise of constitutional rule was cut short in the 1920s with the rise of the Pahlavi dynasty. Reza Shah, whose despotic rule Azimi deftly captures, maintained the faÇade of a constitutional monarch but greeted any challenge with an iron fist: "I will eliminate you," he routinely barked at his officials. In 1941, fearful of losing control of the oil-rich region, the Allies forced Reza Shah to abdicate but allowed Mohammad Reza to succeed his father. Though promising to abide by the constitution, the new Shah missed no opportunity to undermine it. The Anglo-Americanbacked coup of 1953, which ousted reformist premier Mohammed Mosaddeq, dealt a blow to the constitutionalists. The Shah's repressive policies and subservience to the United States radicalized both secular and religious opponents, leading to the revolution of 1979. Azimi argues that we have fundamentally misunderstood this event by characterizing it as an "Islamic" revolution when it was in reality the expression of a long-repressed desire for popular sovereignty. This explains why the clerical rulers have failed to counter the growing public conviction that the Islamic Republic, too, is impervious to political reform-and why the democratic impulse that began with the Constitutional Revolution continues to be a potent and resilient force.
Bowker Data Service Summary
The Constitutional Revolution of 1906 launched Iran as a pioneer in a broad-based movement to establish democratic rule in the non-Western world. In a book that provides context for understanding modern Iran, the author traces a century of struggle for the establishment of representative government.
Main Description
The Constitutional Revolution of 1906 launched Iran as a pioneer in a broad-based movement to establish democratic rule in the non-Western world. In a book that provides essential context for understanding modern Iran, Fakhreddin Azimi traces a century of struggle for the establishment of representative government.The promise of constitutional rule was cut short in the 1920s with the rise of the Pahlavi dynasty. Reza Shah, whose despotic rule Azimi deftly captures, maintained the faÇade of a constitutional monarch but greeted any challenge with an iron fist: "I will eliminate you," he routinely barked at his officials. In 1941, fearful of losing control of the oil-rich region, the Allies forced Reza Shah to abdicate but allowed Mohammad Reza to succeed his father. Though promising to abide by the constitution, the new Shah missed no opportunity to undermine it.The Anglo-Americanbacked coup of 1953, which ousted reformist premier Mohammed Mosaddeq, dealt a blow to the constitutionalists. The Shah's repressive policies and subservience to the United States radicalized both secular and religious opponents, leading to the revolution of 1979. Azimi argues that we have fundamentally misunderstood this event by characterizing it as an "Islamic" revolution when it was in reality the expression of a long-repressed desire for popular sovereignty. This explains why the clerical rulers have failed to counter the growing public conviction that the Islamic Republic, too, is impervious to political reform-and why the democratic impulse that began with the Constitutional Revolution continues to be a potent and resilient force.
Main Description
The Constitutional Revolution of 1906 launched Iran as a pioneer in a broad-based movement to establish democratic rule in the non-Western world. In a book that provides essential context for understanding modern Iran, Fakhreddin Azimi traces a century of struggle for the establishment of representative government. The promise of constitutional rule was cut short in the 1920s with the rise of the Pahlavi dynasty. Reza Shah, whose despotic rule Azimi deftly captures, maintained the fa ade of a constitutional monarch but greeted any challenge with an iron fist: “I will eliminate you,” he routinely barked at his officials. In 1941, fearful of losing control of the oil-rich region, the Allies forced Reza Shah to abdicate but allowed Mohammad Reza to succeed his father. Though promising to abide by the constitution, the new Shah missed no opportunity to undermine it. The Anglo-American–backed coup of 1953, which ousted reformist premier Mohammed Mosaddeq, dealt a blow to the constitutionalists. The Shah’s repressive policies and subservience to the United States radicalized both secular and religious opponents, leading to the revolution of 1979. Azimi argues that we have fundamentally misunderstood this event by characterizing it as an “Islamic” revolution when it was in reality the expression of a long-repressed desire for popular sovereignty. This explains why the clerical rulers have failed to counter the growing public conviction that the Islamic Republic, too, is impervious to political reform-and why the democratic impulse that began with the Constitutional Revolution continues to be a potent and resilient force.
Table of Contents
Prefacep. ix
Note on Transliterationp. xiv
Prologue: In Search of a National Covenantp. 1
Constituting a National Community (1906-1953)
Constitutional Trial and Errorp. 19
Pahlavist Absolutismp. 69
Restoration of Parliamentary Politicsp. 118
Authoritarian Supremacy: Consolidation and Collapse (1953-1979)
The Trajectories of Monarchismp. 157
Revolution: Chronicle of an Implosionp. 201
The Edifice and Emplacements of Royal Rulep. 224
Elective Affinities: Western Imperial Interests and Authoritarian Monarchyp. 258
The Architecture of Royalist Hegemonyp. 277
A Culture of Confrontationp. 307
The Eclipse of Popular Sovereignty: Iran since 1979
The Unfolding of Clerical Rule: Oligarchy by Divine Right?p. 357
The Culture of Politics: The Presence and Absence of the Pastp. 412
Predicaments and Prospectsp. 423
Epilogue: The Resilience of Modernityp. 437
Abbreviationsp. 453
Notesp. 455
Indexp. 481
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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